Independence Utilities Center Earns LEED Platinum Designation

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri (July 20, 2017) — Accolades for the Independence Utilities Center keep rolling in. The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the new facility with a highly coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. The City of Independence facility earned the highest LEED designation for exceptional energy and water conservation, site connectivity and development, sustainable construction techniques, and a number of indoor, health, safety and user comfort features.

The 47,500-square foot, three-story building, located at 17221 E. 23rd Street, was previously a medical building located on a larger campus that included the former Medical Center of Independence. Though the hospital had been razed, the medical building was left standing.

Completed in October 2016, the new Independence Utilities Center houses administrative and customer service offices for Independence Power & Light along with offices for the Independence Water Department and some large training spaces. Burns & McDonnell provided a full range of architectural, engineering and construction services for a full-scale renovation of the former medical building on a larger 14-acre site.

The project also was recently recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal as a winner of a Capstone Award in the green design category.

“We are extremely proud to have achieved LEED Platinum certification for a building that dramatically improves the surrounding community,” says Mayor Eileen Weir of the City of Independence. “This is a real achievement that will become a model for developers looking for proof of how sustainable design can have a meaningful impact on our built environment.”

“The City of Independence now has a showcase facility that demonstrates how renovated buildings can surpass the energy and environmental performance of even newly constructed buildings,” says Joe Williams, who served as lead project architect for Burns & McDonnell. “Reinvestment in a repurposed facility like this takes creativity and teamwork. But it’s worth it. During the course of this project, we heard countless stories from people who spent time in the building when it was home to the many medical practices associated with MCI hospital. It has been an honor and privilege to return this building to a place where it is once again a vibrant part of the Independence community.”

The project preserved more than 95 percent of the existing structure. Key additions greatly improved aesthetics and energy efficiency of the building envelope, including new wall and roof insulation, thermal windows, aluminum exterior panels and sun shades and a “cool” white roof to reduce heat gain. Almost 98 percent of construction waste was recycled or reused and diverted from landfill. The interior was gutted and built-out with high efficiency heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and new LED lighting. A large amount of reclaimed white oak sourced from a thoroughbred horse farm in Kentucky was reused in public areas of the building and over 97 percent of new wood purchased was FSC-certified for sustainable forestry practices. New low-emitting materials, finishes and furniture will protect the health and productivity of the City’s 130 employees who now occupy the building.

The facility features a variety of energy conservation and renewable energy features, including a rooftop solar array and wind turbine capable of providing 15 percent of the building’s annual energy needs. The building is ventilated using a dedicated outside air unit (DOAS) that has an energy recovery wheel to capture heating or cooling from the building exhaust air to pre-condition the ventilation air, minimizing the need for mechanical cooling or electric heating. A variable refrigerant volume (VRV) heat pump system allows units in different zones of the building to modulate to match the load in each zone with high part-load efficiencies to simultaneously heat and cool, as needed. The combination of systems makes the building 51 percent more efficient than a comparable baseline building.

In addition, ultra-high efficiency plumbing fixtures reduce water use within the building by 40 percent. Exterior landscaping features a number of native and adapted plant species that thrive without the need for permanent irrigation and help slow and infiltrate stormwater runoff from the site.

About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies made up of more than 5,700 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. We strive to create amazing success for our clients and amazing careers for our employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned and is proud to be No. 16 on Fortune’s 2017 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.

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